Thursday, April 24, 2014

Open Thread Thursday

Plop-plop fizz-fizz. My baloney has a first name. Tell us your favorite old school commercial jingles.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

BROOKLYN: Five Ultra-Orthodox Jews Arrested In Gang Assault Of Gay Man

Five Hasidic men were arrested in Brooklyn today for the December gang beating a gay fashion student. At least two of the men charged belong to a controversial Ultra-Orthodox street patrol group.
Taj Patterson, 22, has said he was headed to his Fort Greene home after a night of partying last December when over a dozen ultra-Orthodox men assaulted him on Flushing Ave. in Williamsburg while shouting anti-gay epithets. Aharon Hollender, 28, Abraham Winkler, 39, Mayer Herskovic, 21, Pinchas Braver, 19, and Joseph Fried, 25, were charged with gang assault and other counts, but not with any hate crimes, authorities said Wednesday. “We simply cannot allow anyone walking on the streets of Brooklyn to be knocked to the ground, stomped and brutally beaten,” said Brooklyn district attorney Kenneth Thompson. The group, at least two of whom belonged to a volunteer patrol called Shomrim, were looking for someone who vandalized cars in the area and stopped Patterson, prosecutors said. Even though the vandalism report was unfounded, they allegedly started pummeling the victim, authorities said.
The victim suffered a broken eye socket, a torn retina, and numerous cuts and bruises. It's not clear why hate crimes charges have not yet been made. The alleged attackers have been released on bail and face up to 25 years in prison.

RELATED: The Shomrim and a splinter group, the Shmira, are "public safety" groups that aggressively patrol the Hasidic neighborhoods of Brooklyn with a fleet of official looking vehicles, some of which resemble NYPD patrol cars. Members of both groups, who reportedly hate each other, have been charged with assaulting black residents of Brooklyn. One of the Shomrim members arrested today was also arrested in 2012 for taking courtroom photographs of a child molestation victim in order to intimidate her as she testified against a Hasidic leader. Her attacker, who was later sentenced to 103 years in prison, sat on his sect's "modesty committee," which enforces strict rules of dress and behavior for female members.

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Liberty Counsel Has The Illinois Sadz

Liberty Counsel is ever so pissed that all those anti-gay GOP committee members lost their seats in Illinois. (Tipped by JMG reader Gustav)

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One Million Moms Vs TLC

From the economic terrorists at One Million Moms:
Joe, TLC obviously enjoys promoting immoral reality shows with unethical lifestyles! The new reality show, "My Five Wives," promotes another polygamist family airing on Sunday evenings at 10:00 p.m. (ET/PT) and 9:00 p.m. CT on TLC. The family in the show consists of one husband, five wives and their combined twenty-four children. Not only is their unconventional family structure absurd and confusing, but their living arrangements are as well. These five women are constantly discussing how difficult sharing a husband is and have to stick to a schedule on who gets the husband on which night to keep jealousy to a minimum, especially concerning time spent together. This is their solution on how to function without chaos.

TLC implies that the loving, tight-knit family has established a cohesive, loving unit. In other words, everything is fine and dandy, and nothing is morally wrong with their lifestyle choice. Instead of TLC airing programs that are enlightening and encouraging- after all they are The Learning Channel- they have decided to stoop so low as to show this controversial content, again. TLC doesn't seem to mind that this lifestyle is illegal, nor that it is ethically wrong. Please send an email letter to the sponsors of this week's "My Five Wives" asking that they pull their support immediately from a program that degrades family and marriage. This week's national sponsors were: Subway, Realtor.com, Arm & Hammer (Church & Dwight Co.), Evolution of Smooth (eos), Capri Sun (Kraft Foods) and Cracker Barrel Cheese.

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Jodie Foster Has Gotten Married

E Online has the news: "Congrats to Jodie Foster and her new wife Alexandra Hedison. I can exclusively reveal that the Oscar winner and her photographer girlfriend of almost a year got married this past weekend. A rep for Foster confirms the happy news. As E! News first reported, the two started dating sometime last summer. 'It's pretty serious,' a source told us in September. 'They're totally in love.'"

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Porno Pete Appears On Show Of Harlem's "Jesus Would Stone Homos" Pastor

Porno Pete apparently agrees that homosexuals should be stoned to death as today he appeared on the internet show of Harlem's Pastor James Manning. Nothing really interesting happens, just the usual fire and brimstone denouncements and lies about "ex-gays." LaBarbera whines that marriage equality is a done deal nationwide, he just hopes that at least one state (Oklahoma, he suggests) defies the courts and refuses to comply with a marriage ruling. For his part, Manning declares that New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo "is a homosexual himself."

(Tipped by JMG reader John)

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Macklemore's Ryan Lewis Reveals That His Mother Has Been HIV+ For 30 Years

Ryan Lewis writes:
A huge part of what's made me who I am, is something I haven't talked about in interviews. If I could just take a few moments of your time, I'd love to tell you about the strongest woman that I know, my mom, Julie Lewis. In 1984, my mom gave birth to my older sister, Teresa. Due to a complicated delivery, she needed a blood transfusion and at that moment, my mom had HIV+ blood put into her body. When she was finally diagnosed, she was given only a few years to live. By that time, she had already given birth to my sister Laura and me. We each had a 25% chance of being born HIV+, but we were extremely fortunate (today, the risk of a mother passing HIV to her baby is 2% or less if she is taking medication).

Thanks to advanced medicine and healthcare available here in the U.S., my mom has lived despite her odds. To honor the thirty years my mom has been a survivor, our family is raising funds to build health centers worldwide that will stand strong for at least thirty years. We're calling it the 30/30 Project. We are partnering with Construction for Change, a Seattle-based nonprofit, to carry out construction. And we have local partners on the ground, such as Partners in Health, to run and operate the health facilities long-term. We want to give hope to women and families in other parts of the world who lack access to quality, affordable healthcare.
An IndieGoGo donation page has been launched to support the 30/30 Project. Watch the clip below. CBS News has posted an interview with Ryan Lewis.

(Tipped by JMG reader Stephen)

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Homocons Co-Sign Statement Denouncing "Punishment" Of Mozilla's Former CEO

A coalition of well-known homocons and others today released a public statement on the resignation of former Mozilla CEO Brandon Eich. The statement is titled, "Freedom To Marry, Freedom To Dissent: Why We Must Have Both." An excerpt:
Is opposition to same-sex marriage by itself, expressed in a political campaign, beyond the pale of tolerable discourse in a free society? We cannot wish away the objections of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim faith traditions, or browbeat them into submission. Even in our constitutional system, persuasion is a minority’s first and best strategy. It has served us well and we should not be done with it.

Much of the rhetoric that emerged in the wake of the Eich incident showed a worrisome turn toward intolerance and puritanism among some supporters of gay equality—not in terms of formal legal sanction, to be sure, but in terms of abandonment of the core liberal values of debate and diversity.

Sustaining a liberal society demands a culture that welcomes robust debate, vigorous political advocacy, and a decent respect for differing opinions. People must be allowed to be wrong in order to continually test what is right. We should criticize opposing views, not punish or suppress them.

The freedom—not just legal but social—to express even very unpopular views is the engine that propelled the gay-rights movement from its birth against almost hopeless odds two generations ago. A culture of free speech created the social space for us to criticize and demolish the arguments against gay marriage and LGBT equality. For us and our advocates to turn against that culture now would be a betrayal of the movement’s deepest and most humane values.
The statement does not address the fact that all LGBT groups remained completely silent as the controversy unfolded and came to its conclusion. Nor does it note that the campaign against Eich was spawned by Mozilla staffers and developers themselves. Instead, the "blame" for Eich's resignation is laid squarely at the feet of phantom gay activists.

Homocon signers: Ken Mehlman, Peter Thiel, Rich Tafel, William Saletan, Jamie Kirchick, Jonathan Rauch, and former GOP Rep. Jim Kolbe. Among the others: Andrew Sullivan, John Corvino, David Blankenhorn, and Box Turtle Bulletin bloggers Jim Burroway, Timothy Kincaid, and Rob Tisinai.

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Chelsea Manning Granted Name Change

Chelsea Manning is now legally Chelsea Manning.
A Kansas judge granted a request Wednesday to formally change the name of the soldier convicted of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks from Bradley Edward Manning to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning. The former intelligence analyst is serving a 35-year prison sentence for passing classified U.S. government information to the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. Manning is serving the sentence at the Army prison on Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. Leavenworth County District Judge David King said he'd allow the name change during a court hearing that lasted about a minute. Manning didn't attend the hearing but issued a statement saying it was "an exciting day." "Hopefully today's name change, while so meaningful to me personally, can also raise awareness of the fact that we (transgender) people exist everywhere in America today, and that we must jump through hurdles every day just for being who we are," Manning said.
Manning remains in a men's prison and the name change "does not compel the military" to transfer her to a women's prison, according to the Associated Press.

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Christie Slams Letterman For Fat Jokes

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Headline Of The Day

Despite the tabloid headline, this trio isn't legally married. But try telling that to the screamers out in Teabagistan today. Details.

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Pomplamoose - Puttin' On The Ritz

A rather strange video for them.

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30 Years Ago Today

"First, the probable cause of AIDS has been found: a variant of a known human cancer virus. Second, not only has the agent been identified, but a new process has been developed to mass produce this virus. Thirdly, with the discovery of both the virus and this new process, we now have a blood test for AIDS. With a blood test, we can identify AIDS victims with essentially 100% certainty." - Margaret Heckler, Health & Human Services Secretary for the Reagan administration, announcing 30 years ago today that the virus which causes AIDS had been identified.

MSNBC reports on the mistakes that were made that morning:
Her hastily arranged press conference was full of blunders—she jumped the gun by two months because of a press leak, claimed U.S. credit for what was largely a French discovery, misidentified the newly discovered virus, and wrongly predicted that a vaccine would be ready within two years (we still don’t have one). Yet the announcement had epochal impact. It revealed the source of what would soon become one of the worst plagues in human history, and it sparked scientific and social revolutions that are still playing out today. Three years earlier, in the spring of 1981, a ghastly new disease had exploded in the gay communities of New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. It eviscerated people’s immune systems, allowing normally harmless pathogens to consume them. Though initially dismissed as a “gay plague,” it had begun killing hemophiliacs and injection drug users, as well as their partners and newborns, and it was spreading worldwide.
I was 24 years old on that day and I remember a flurry of excited phone calls with friends. I also vividly recall being at Orlando's Parliament House that night, where beloved drag performer Miss P led the audience in a celebratory group toast. As we held up our cocktails, Miss P gave us our line: "Here's to SCIENCE. And FUCK Ronald Reagan." Heckler's promise of an imminent vaccine, a promise that cruelly resurfaced so many time over the following decades, brought so much giddy happiness to the room that night. Miss P died of AIDS in 2004. There's a wonderful mural of her at the entrance to the Parliament House disco. 

But still, 30 years later, here's to science.

And fuck Ronald Reagan.

RELATED: See this great obit for Miss P by the Orlando Sentinel.

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Eugene Delgaudio: I Stopped ENDA

"Dear Joe, The Homosexual Lobby and their Democrat cronies in Congress are furious. They've been trying to ram the Gay Bill of Special Rights through the House of Representatives since it passed the Senate for the first time ever back in November. But your Public Advocate has stopped them cold. That's why 220 Democrat Senators and Congressmen have signed a letter to President Obama demanding he bypass Congress with a sweeping executive order. If enacted, this order would unjustly prohibit Christian businesses that uphold traditional values from being considered for contracting with the Federal government. And while this order only targets government contractors, the message to all Christian businesses, churches, and schools is clear: 'Comply with the Homosexual Agenda or we're coming after you!' Please consider chipping in a generous gift of $5 or $10 or even $35 to help keep Public Advocate's critical programs running to keep the pressure on!" - Eugene Delguadio, in his hundredth money beg of the year.

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OREGON: Marriage Case Begins Today

At 1:30PM today local time, openly gay federal Judge Michael McShane will hear opening arguments in Oregon's marriage equality case. But there won't be any actual arguing, because both the state and the plaintiffs agree that the gay marriage ban should be overturned. Here's what could happen:
McShane says he won't rule on the case itself until at least after he holds the May 14 hearing on the motion to intervene [By NOM]. Backers of a gay marriage initiative are urging the judge to rule by May 23. If he strikes the law down before then, sponsors of the initiative say they won't have to take their measure to the November ballot. However, McShane is under no deadline to rule. If the judge allows the National Organization for Marriage to intervene, it's doubtful there would be any quick ruling. Also, the group presumably would then have the legal standing to appeal any decision striking down Oregon's prohibition. In addition, McShane could decide on his own to stay his ruling while seeing how the appellate courts rule.
Oregon or Pennsylvania? Who will be next?

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Surfin' Schock

Back in January, Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) made his Instagram account private, but his followers continue to share the posts. Yesterday Americablog posted a roundup of recent photos posted by Schock, including the above image which carries this message: "Waikiki Beach - Enjoying the Aloha spirit thanks to @tulsigabbard hospitality and Surfing Coach Nish for getting me up. Shout out to @oahusurfshots for the pics. #icouldlivehere" (Via Towleroad)

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Four States Left

Via Good As You.

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OHIO: State Approves Language For Ballot Measure To Repeal Marriage Ban

Yesterday organizers of a ballot measure campaign to repeal Ohio's same-sex marriage ban were granted permission to begin gathering petition signatures.
The Ohio Ballot Board agreed Tuesday that the proposed "Freedom to Marry and Religious Freedom Amendment" contains a single constitutional amendment, clearing the way for the effort to move forward. The updated amendment includes language requiring that all legally valid marriages be treated equally under the law. It also keeps clergy from being forced to perform a same-sex marriage. The group FreedomOhio is seeking to repeal and replace Ohio's 2004 prohibition on gay marriage.
RELATED: Last week a federal judge ruled that Ohio must recognize out-of-state marriages. The ruling was stayed pending an appeal.

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Most Atrocious Political Ad Of 2014?

Think Progress wonders if this is the "most atrocious political ad of 2014."
If you want to run for office some day, you better not believe that everyone is entitled to legal counsel before the government locks them away. Or, at least, that’s the message sent by a new Republican Governors Association ad targeting Vincent Sheheen, a former prosecutor who now represents civil and criminal clients in private practice. Sheheen is a Democratic candidate for governor against incumbent Nikki Haley (R-SC). The RGA’s ad attacks Sheheen for “defend[ing] violent criminals” and ends with the tagline “Vincent Sheheen protects criminals not South Carolina.” The implication of this ad is that Sheheen is somehow unfit for public office because he once provided legal counsel to people accused of crimes.

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Donohue: Let's Make Atheists Impotent

"Militant atheists have a new goal: they object to students hearing the name of God in the Pledge of Allegiance. No atheist has to say the Pledge, or utter the dreaded words, 'under God'  - it is optional - but that is not enough: they want to stop others from saying it. The American Humanist Association, and its ilk, are not satisfied to opt out of saying the Pledge of Allegiance. They want the government to silence everyone from saying it. We do not have to worry about the Taliban in the United States—religious fanatics are properly impotent. But we do have to worry about their secular counterpart—atheist fanatics. It is their impotence that we must secure." - Catholic League blowhard Bill Donohue.

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Ricky Martin - Vida

From the official FIFA World Cup 2014 album.

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Tweet Of The Day - Rachel Held Evans

Evans, a Christian writer, was tweeting from a panel discussion held at the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty forum. Here's the "ironic" history of how the Southern Baptist Convention came to be:
Largely comprised of slaveholders, the gathering at the First Baptist Church of Augusta, Georgia, in May 1845 publicly pled their case. Slavery was biblical. Therefore abolition was sinful, and Baptists of the North were wrong to oppose slavery. Abolitionists of the North were responsible for the Baptist division; southern Baptists had been patient with the agitators, but enough was enough. Pledging allegiance to slavery, they vowed “we will never interfere with what is Caesar’s” (a biblical allusion implying it was their moral and legal responsibility to uphold the legal institution of slavery). And for good measure, the delegates expressed outrage that a northern Baptist missionary had “actually remitted money to the United States to aid in the assisting of slaves to ‘run away from their masters.’” (See Proceedings of the Southern Baptist Convention, 1845.) From this point forward, white Baptist leaders in the South through the end of the Civil War openly and insistently championed and defended white supremacy and black slavery, along the way migrating into a form of Christian nationalism heretofore foreign to the very Christian denomination that had been the most vocal champions, since the seventeenth century, of the separation of church and state.
In 1995 the SBC finally issued a formal apology to African-Americans for having supported slavery and for having supported segregation right through the civil rights era.

RELATED: One of the panelists at the SBC's forum was Mark Regnerus. The event closed with the announcement that in October the SBC will "hold a conference exclusively focusing on homosexuality."

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RNC: Stop Obama, Fire Reid

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Launched: New Org For Gay Dads

From the announcement:
The Handsome Father, a new national nonprofit organization headquartered in Austin, Texas, officially launched today aiming to foster a community of support to connect, equip and inspire gay fathers and fathers-to-be. Focused on providing education, resources and raising awareness, The Handsome Father’s programs and services include a one-to-one mentorship program, an online platform to showcase family profiles, and a comprehensive resource listing of family-building and sustaining services. Watch our animated short video“We believe that every man—no matter who he is or who he loves—should know he can be a father if he choose,” says Andy Miller, co-founder of The Handsome Father and president of its Board of Directors. ”No man should have to sacrifice his dreams of fatherhood simply because he is gay.
About their name: "Did you know that the word 'handsome' by definition means pleasing, dignified, generous, appropriate, fitting, ample, graceful, bountiful, and yes, attractive? We believe fatherhood is handsome in every respect of the word. When someone commits his life to raise a child and takes the steps a gay man must to create his family, we call that 'handsome.'"

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Perkins: Our FRC Poll Shows 82% Of Republicans Oppose Same-Sex Marriage

Hate group leader Tony Perkins was all over the web yesterday with an FRC-conducted poll which claims that the vast majority of Republicans oppose same-sex marriage. Via press release:
FRC and American Values set out to gauge how the Republican base really feels about an issue that, until recently, was non-negotiable in the GOP. With help from Wilson Research Strategies, we asked a couple straightforward questions about the party's core values -- and what pollsters found might surprise you. Public opinion on marriage isn't the runaway train that liberals want you to believe it is. A whopping 82% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents believe marriage "should be defined only as a union between one man and one woman." And respondents didn't just agree with that statement -- 74% strongly agreed. What's more, they're tired of their elected leaders ignoring the issue -- or worse, pushing the party in the opposite direction. Three-quarters (75%) of respondents rejected the idea that "politicians should support the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples" (with 67% strongly agreeing). That should be a wakeup call to the GOP Establishment, which, for the last few years, has thrown its weight behind some highly controversial candidates under the guise of "building a bigger tent." As far as the base is concerned, that's an incredibly short-sighted strategy that does more to divide the party than unite it. Clearly, the vast majority of the GOP continues to see marriage a non-negotiable plank of the national platform and want to see their elected officials uphold it as the standard to stand for, encourage, and promote in law.
A Washington Post poll released last month tells a very different story.

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Lily Allen - Sheezus

TIME has a review:
Lily Allen’s upcoming album, Sheezus, might poke fun at Kanye West, but on the recently premiered title track, she turns her attention to another crop of royals: Lorde, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Katy Perry and Lady Gaga don’t just get name-checked on “Sheezus” — Allen’s search-engine-optimized opinions of her pop-star peers make up the song’s entire hook. At first, the “Hard Out Here” singer doesn’t exactly sound like she’s full of praise (except for Lorde, who’s “about to slay you”), but listen closely — this is no diss track. If anything, Allen wants her ladies to unite in bringing their A-game: “Second best will never cut it for the divas / Give me that crown, bitch / I wanna be Sheezus.”

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

OREGON: Judge Denies NOM's Attempt To Delay Marriage Equality Arguments

From Oregon United:
Moments ago, Judge Michael McShane denied the National Organization for Marriage’s attempt to delay tomorrow’s scheduled oral arguments in federal lawsuit challenging Oregon’s marriage ban. Previously, no party had stepped up to defend the ban. But this morning, the D.C.-based NOM filed a motion requesting to intervene in the case, simultaneously urging the judge to delay Wednesday’s oral arguments as he considers the last-minute motion. With Judge McShane’s ruling today, oral arguments will proceed as scheduled tomorrow afternoon at the Federal Courthouse in Eugene. However, the judge will consider NOM’s motion to intervene in the case and has scheduled oral arguments on that issue for May 14th. If the motion to intervene is accepted, Judge McShane would then schedule a second briefing schedule on summary judgement or move the case to trial.
(Tipped by JMG reader Ron)

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A Ridiculous Lie From Rafael Cruz

"All we have to do is turn on the news and every day we see more and more encroachment upon pastors from this administration. All they have to do is be aware of what’s happening around us and to be aware, for example, that in the city of San Antonio, if a pastor speaks on Romans 1, he could be even fined $500 a day until he retracts what he said. We’ve stayed at home and we allowed the wicked to elect wicked politicians to rule us. We get what we deserve, Rick. We need to get up the charge that God is giving us and move to the forefront and call this nation to repentance and call this nation to righteousness." - Rafael Cruz, father of Sen. Ted Cruz, speaking on a Tea Party Unity conference call with crackpot Rick Scarborough, who warned that similar fines are going to imposed on Houston's pastors if Mayor Annise Parker gets her way.

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Too Gay To Function Mean Girls Cast Member Daniel Franzese Comes Out

Actor Daniel Franzese, who played the "too gay to function" Damian in Mean Girls, has come out with a letter to that character posted today on Bent. An excerpt:
I had the perfect opportunity in 2004 to let people know the REAL Daniel Franzese. Now in 2014 - ten years later - looking back, it took YOU to teach me how to be proud of myself again. It’s okay if no one wants to sit at the table with the “art freaks.” Being a queer artist is one of my favorite things about myself. I have always been different and that's rad. People have always asked if I was really gay? While my reps usually lied to protect me. My friends and family all knew the truth but now it's time everyone does. Perhaps this will help someone else. I had to remind myself that my parents named me Daniel because it means "God is my judge" So, I’m not afraid anymore. Of Hollywood, the closet or mean girls. Thank you for that, Damian. (And Tina.) By the way, in June I am the Celebrity Grand Marshal of the Portland Gay Pride Parade. We go Glen Coco.
Read the full letter.

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TRAILER: Compared To What: The Improbable Journey Of Barney Frank

Open this weekend at the Tribeca Film Festival. Executive producer: Alec Baldwin. Variety has the story:
When husband-and-wife directing team Sheila Canavan and Michael Chandler approached Barney Frank about making a documentary, their pitch sounded lighthearted. In late 2011, Frank was preparing to retire from his Massachusetts seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, after a 40-year career in public office. “It was going to be a nostalgic look and what it’s like making the transition,” says Frank, 74, on a recent phone call from Maine where he spends a fair portion of his time now. But after collecting more than 100 hours of interviews, Frank recalls, “they decided they wanted to do more of my career.” The movie follows Frank’s journey as the first congressman to voluntarily come out of the closet in 1987 and it bookends that history with the summer 2012 wedding to Jim Ready (when the cameras trailed along at the tearful reception). “I regretted not coming out earlier,” Frank says. “My life was considerably improved when I wasn’t hiding things. Plus, I think it had a good political effect on prejudice.”

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Douche Of The Day - Todd Starnes

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Betty White Responds To Fan Questions

Betty White fielded questions from fans on social media last night at the close of an interview with Larry King. Near the end of the clip below, Betty reaffirms her defense of the gay community.

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Kylie Minogue To Perform At GLAAD Awards, George Takei To Be Honored

Kylie Minogue will perform at the GLAAD Media Awards in New York City on May 3rd.  The main honoree that night will be George Takei.
Takei will receive GLAAD's Vito Russo Award, which is presented to an openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender media professional who has made a significant difference in promoting equality. Previous Vito Russo honorees include Anderson Cooper, Ricky Martin, Rosie O'Donnell, Alan Cumming, Cynthia Nixon, Nathan Lane, Cherry Jones, Elton John, k.d. lang, and Tom Ford. Over his career, the actor, advocate, social media star and author has remained one of the most outspoken LGBT voices in Hollywood. Since coming out in 2005, he has spoken out on issues including marriage equality, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), so-called "ex-gay therapy" and more. He has worked closely with GLAAD to bring equality to the Boy Scouts and supported GLAAD's Spirit Day campaign to show support for LGBT youth and end anti-LGBT bullying. To Be Takei, a documentary about Takei's life and career, premiered at Sundance in January and is scheduled for a theatrical release this summer.
GLAAD has launched a contest in which the winner will be flown to New York City and seated with Takei at the event.

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RUSSIA: Fingerprint The HIV+

A bill that mandates the fingerprinting of HIV+ people and those with other infectious diseases has been introduced in Russia's national legislature. Russian state news reports:
State Duma deputy Roman Khudyakov of the Liberal Democratic party told mass circulation daily Izvestia that he had prepared an amendment to the federal bill on fingerprinting to provide for a database of people carrying dangerous contagious diseases. This agency will collect medical records and make patients undergo fingerprinting. The information will then be collected in a special nationwide database. If the amendment is passed the new rules would apply to Russian citizens and foreigners who are visiting the country. Several federal ministries and agencies, including the Federal Migration Service, Interior Ministry, Emergencies Ministry and Prosecutor General’s Office have already approved the draft, the parliamentarian told the newspaper.
Under the proposed bill, those that refuse to be fingerprinted can fined 50,000 rubles. Foreigner who refuse to submit would be deported. (Via Towleroad)

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Which Case Will Get To SCOTUS First?

While various legal groups jockey to get to the Supreme Court, Freedom To Marry head Evan Wolfson speaks about the marriage equality cases currently before the various circuit courts of appeal:
Presumably, we will soon - meaning, in a matter of months - have rulings from one or more of the federal appellate courts. Then there's the possibility of further procedures as to whether the three-judge panels in those courts that will rule will then go to the broader, full panel of the entire circuit courts [a process called en banc review]. That could consume a few more months. When that gets resolved (either by bypassing that step or by having another set of arguments and further round of decisions), then whoever loses that ultimate appeals court ruling may ask the Supreme Court to hear the case. That's called "seeking cert." That stage then requires another few months of briefing and argument, with one side saying the Supreme Court should hear the case and the other side saying the Court should not hear the case. Then, it's up to the Supreme Court to decide whether it's going to take one of the cases or not. It takes only four of the nine justices to vote to hear a case.
There are presently 65 marriage equality lawsuits in progress in 31 states and US territories. Freedom To Marry has posted a handy chart.

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ILLNOIS: Hate Group Compares Dan Savage To The Holocaust And Abortion

The Illinois Family Institute, an SPLC-certified hate group and the former home of Peter LaBarbera, is responding to supporters who are angry that they posted an old "loathsome video" of Dan Savage. From IFI head Laurie Higgins:
Why view photos from Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen? Why view photos of lynchings? Why view photos of aborted babies? Why view the photo of the young napalmed Vietnamese girl? Why view photos of animals caught in steel leg traps or baby seals bludgeoned to death? Aren't these images shocking and obscene? I am not equating the enormity of the evil of the Holocaust and the American genocide of pre-born babies to that of the homosexuality-affirming movement. I am, rather, illuminating the necessity of occasionally viewing the evil in our midst about which humans have a remarkable capacity to delude themselves. As Christians, however, we should remain conscious of the fact that a life of unrepentant homoerotic activity will result in eternal separation from God. How do we measure the magnitude of temporal suffering relative to that of eternal suffering?
NOTE: We've never been able to find a usable photo of Laurie Higgins. Which is quite odd, considering how everybody else in the anti-gay industry tends to be quite proud of their hatred.

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Brian Williams - Gin And Juice

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Wingnuts Attack Gun Control Image

Right wing sites such as Twitchy are mocking the above "ignorant" image because the gun is expelling "the entire bullet - casing and all." And because the trigger doesn't appear to be pulled. That's what's important here, folks.

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INDIA: Supreme Court To Reconsider Ruling Upholding Anti-Sodomy Legislation

India's Supreme Court announced today that it will reconsider its recent ruling which upheld anti-sodomy legislation enacted under British rule. J. Lester Feder reports at Buzzfeed:
This is LGBTI rights’ advocates last chance to toss out the decision, which was a harsh blow after a 12-year litigation process. In January, a two judge panel (which included one of the judges who issued the original ruling) rejected their first attempt to have the case reconsidered, what is known as a review petition. The current motion, known as a curative petition, still faces long odds, because the five-judge panel that will consider it includes the two judges who rejected the review petition. The other judges on the panel will be the three most senior judges on the court. But the lawyers in this case got a major boost last week when a different two-judge Supreme Court panel issued a sweeping verdict recognizing broad rights for transgender people. Though the judges in the transgender rights case were careful to explicitly say they were not offering an opinion on the 377 case, their ruling reads almost like a point-by-point rebuttal to the ruling.
A date for the rehearing will be announced next week.

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Obamas Laud Frankie Knuckles

The above letter from the President and First Lady was included in the program at yesterday's memorial service for the late gay DJ Frankie Knuckles in Chicago. Speakers at the service included Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, who praised Knuckles for "inventing a new musical form" in house music. Windy City Times has more about the event on their Twitter feed.

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AP Polls Americans On Science, Nobel Winners Depressed With Results

The Associated Press has polled Americans about their scientific beliefs:
Just 4 percent doubt that smoking causes cancer, 6 percent question whether mental illness is a medical condition that affects the brain and 8 percent are skeptical there's a genetic code inside our cells. More — 15 percent — have doubts about the safety and efficacy of childhood vaccines. About 4 in 10 say they are not too confident or outright disbelieve that the earth is warming, mostly a result of man-made heat-trapping gases, that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old or that life on Earth evolved through a process of natural selection, though most were at least somewhat confident in each of those concepts. But a narrow majority — 51 percent — questions the Big Bang theory. Those results depress and upset some of America's top scientists, including several Nobel Prize winners, who vouched for the science in the statements tested, calling them settled scientific facts.
Unsurprisingly, Republicans were more likely to doubt science.

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Young Turks "Infiltrate" The 700 Club

The Young Turks are encouraging their viewers to "infiltrate" the 700 Club by getting Pat Robertson to respond to their questions in the daily "Online" portion of the show. Yesterday one of the questions got through.

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GEORGIA: First Marriage Suit To Be Filed

Today Lambda Legal will file Georgia's first marriage equality suit. Via the Georgia Voice:
April 10 was not your usual Thursday at Fulton County Probate Court. Because at one point during the day, Midtown couple Shane Thomas and Michael Bishop strolled in and applied for a marriage license. “Everyone there was friendly, but they still said no,” Bishop tells GA Voice.

In 2004, Georgia voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage as well as recognizing same-sex unions from other states. But since the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last year striking down a major portion of the Defense of Marriage Act in the renowned Windsor case, judge after judge after judge in states across the country are ruling that state bans on same-sex marriage are unconstitutional.

With that marriage license denial to Bishop and Thomas this month, in coordination with the actions of two other same-sex couples and one widowed lesbian, a chain reaction started which will lead to the April 22 filing of a massive class action lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Northern Georgia. The plaintiffs will enter this fight with the backing of Lambda Legal and the law firms of Bryan Cave and White & Case.
Read the full filing here.

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NYC Pride Reveals 2014 Grand Marshals: Laverne Cox, Rea Carey, Jonathan Groff

Via press release:
Heritage of Pride, organizers of NYC Pride and the annual New York City Pride March, today announced the Grand Marshals for 2014. This year’s marshals are Rea Carey, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force; Transgender Activist and “Orange is the New Black” actress Laverne Cox; and Broadway, film, and television actor Jonathan Groff, appearing this summer in “The Normal Heart.” “Our 2014 marshals are leaders in brilliant forms of activism through which LGBT people and their allies engage,” said March Director David Studinski. “Individually, they represent the diversity within the LGBT community and the various struggles our community members have and continue to face. Collectively, their stories reinforce that no voice is too small nor weak to make change in our world - and it starts with being yourself.”

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Veterans For Colorado Marriage

From Why Marriage Matters Colorado:
In its ongoing work to demonstrate that the broad majority of Coloradans support the freedom to marry, Why Marriage Matters Colorado, a coalition of state and national organizations, released a 30-second television spot featuring a group of local veterans standing up for their gay comrade in arms. The ad, airing statewide, features three military veterans who, together with their friend, U.S. Air Force Master Sergeant T. Ashley Metcalf – who is still actively serving his country – represent 45 years of military service. Sgt. Metcalf is gay, and his band of brothers – former Army Staff Sgt. Izzy Abbass, retired U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Dennis Mont’Ros, and former Marine Sgt. Will Glenn – talk about the importance of the freedom to marry for everyone.

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Feds Revoke Powdered Booze Nod

That was fast. Via USA Today:
Don't expect powdered alcohol to hit store shelves anytime soon. A product called "Palcohol" gained widespread attention online in recent days after it was reported that the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau approved the powdered alcohol, including vodka and rum varieties. But a representative for the federal bureau, Tom Hogue, said in an email to The Associated Press late Monday that the approvals were issued in error. Hogue did not immediately respond to requests for further details, including how the error occurred. In an email message, Palcohol's parent company Lipsmark said "there seemed to be a discrepancy on our fill level, how much powder is in the bag." It said it will resubmit the labels for approval.

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TRAILER: True Blood (Season 7)

The final season.

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Medi-Cal Relaxes Truvada Rules

Via Wehoville:
California’s Medi-Cal program has made it easier for low-income people to get access to Truvada, a drug believed to reduce the risk of contracting HIV, by eliminating requirements that those people be provided with condoms and be tested monthly for HIV and that their doctors seek Medi-Cal’s permission before writing a prescription. The decision was applauded by AIDS Project Los Angeles, the L.A. Gay & Lesbian Center and Project Inform in San Francisco — three of the state’s leading organizations focused on HIV education and prevention.
(Tipped by JMG reader Bill)

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Bring Your Own Big Wheel 2014

An annual race down San Francisco's Potrero Hill.

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